|May, 2006 link archive
Monday, May 1, 2006As a deadline passes for "a potentially historic Darfur peace agreement," a broad-based coalition rallies to stop the genocide, and a divestment campaign gathers steam.
The National Counterterrorism Center's new report indicating that the "number of terrorist attacks worldwide increased nearly fourfold in 2005," is said to employ an "apples to oranges" strategy that makes comparison impossible.
The New York Times cites government officials as saying the "Pentagon has no plans to release any detainees in the immediate future" because of its concern "that the prisoners may not be treated humanely by their own governments."
As Afghanistan's president pardons an American imprisoned for "running a private jail and torturing detainees," the Taliban remains "conspicuously absent" from the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations, and lack of security brings some Kandaharis to an "astonishing conclusion" about what the U.S. is doing in their country.
Just back from a trip to Iraq with the defense secretary, Secretary of State Rice "found herself knocked off message" by Colin Powell, whose remarks forced her "to defend prewar planning and troop levels."
As Juan Cole petitions against "scurrilous charges of anti-Semitism," Philip Weiss examines the 'ferment' over 'The Israel Lobby,' and Robert Fisk, interviewing one of its authors, remarks that the mainstream U.S. press "did not know whether to report ... or to remain submissively silent."
Although "widely thought inconceivable," the Bush Administration is said to be exploring criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws, including the 1917 Espionage Act. And a former investigative reporter describes 'A chilling FBI fishing expedition.'
U.S. News reports that it "has identified nearly a dozen cases in which city and county police, in the name of homeland security, have surveilled or harassed animal-rights and antiwar protesters, union activists, and even library patrons surfing the Web."
President Bush "has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office," reports the Boston Globe, "more than one of every 10 bills he has signed," while the vice president's office "is refusing to report on its annual activity in classifying documents."
As it's reported that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald "has already written up charges against Rove," Murray Waas says the focus of the questioning when Rove testified for a fifth time was on "contradictions between Cooper's and Rove's accounts."
With the ex-head of the FDA under criminal investigation for "financial improprieties," prosecutors have reportedly "decided to pursue a wide range of allegations" against Rep. Bob Ney, but Republicans are said to respond to the "corruption hullabaloo" with disinterest.
Response to the Senate Republican plan to mail $100 checks to voters to offset high gasoline prices has been largely hostile on both the left and right, with Rush Limbaugh complaining, "Instead of buying us off and treating us like we're a bunch of whores, just solve the problem."
Firedoglake looks at "what Rush has in store for his 18-months of supervised release," and a Justice Department pilot program to prepare inmates for release that appears to have been designed to fit a bid by Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries, is said to be "manifestly unconstitutional in several respects."
The muted press response to Stephen Colbert "Speaking truthiness to power" was not surprising, argues Billmon, because "Colbert used satire the way it's used in more openly authoritarian societies: as a political weapon, a device for raising issues that can't be addressed directly." Plus: The right reacts to Colbert.
PR Watch's John Stauber calls Neil Young's new album "a case study in guerrilla marketing and public relations" and Ron Jacobs terms it 'A Call to Arms,' but it lacks "a post 9/11 mentality," according to John Gibson of Fox News.
Rolling Stone samples new protest tracks by Young and other artists, including Bruce Springsteen, who dedicated a song to "President Bystander" during a performance at New Orleans' Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Tuesday, May 2, 2006
A Financial Times report finds a CATO Institute white paper concerned about the president's "ceaseless push for power, unchecked by either the courts or Congress," during what Paul Craig Roberts calls the 'Endgame for the Constitution.'
'Facts that reflect poorly on the President,' such as a report that Valerie Plame was tracking Iran's nuclear program when she was outed, are said to be 'false by definition.' Earlier: Is 'Rollback on the rocks'?
After major news outlets reportedly 'touted Bush's routine ... ignored Colbert's skewering,' Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell asked, "Where was the outrage when President Bush made fun of not finding those pesky WMDs ... in the same ballroom?"
As the right rejoices to find Sen. Ted Kennedy in agreement with President Bush on the national anthem, it's reported that 'U.S. Government Commissioned Spanish-Language 'Star-Spangled Banner' in 1919,' despite 'Nuestro Paranoia.' Plus: 'National Anthem Sung In Spanish At First Bush Inaugural.'
The reemergence of a familiar face in Iraq, reportedly "once again being engaged in U.S. policy decisions," despite being depicted on the right as a victim of "fierce, almost unreasoning, hatred," is said to have "created no small concern in the intelligence community."
After watching TV news of politicians proclaiming Iraq to be a "sovereign country free of foreign influence," one member of Riverbend's circle "almost fainted from laughter" and another was "wiping his eyes and gasping for air." Plus: Chicago 'Gangs claim their turf in Iraq.'
"It's beginning to look like the Marines were overzealous," an unnamed official told CNN, regarding photos said to indicate that "Iraqi civilians, including women and children, may have been shot deliberately by U.S. Marines in Haditha last November,"
An article on the 'neural tongue interface of the future' predicts that "being able to provide soldiers with bird-like eyes on the backs of their heads and the ability to see in the dark would provide a substantial benefit to the military."
The Wall Street Journal reports that the new Freedom Tower is "likely to be a government citadel" housing federal agencies, "possibly enhancing its profile as a terrorist target." Business Week examines the 'Fear Factor' in post-9/11 architectural design.
While a profile of 'Anti-Bush Anarchist' and Ultimate Fighting Championship contender Jeff "The Snowman" Monson mentions his wearing of an "Assassinate Bush" tank top, Monson says that "Bush would probably be elected again if the law allowed for three terms."
As 'Debris, Misery Pile Up for New Orleans,' and many young Americans are said to search in vain for Louisiana, Mississippi and Iraq, it's noted that 'Continued national coverage is critical to N.O. survival.'
After falling out of a tree in Fiji, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards reportedly "got on a Jet Ski ... and had another accident" before being taken to a hospital in New Zealand.
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
"Evidence continues to emerge of widespread torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Iraq and other locations," according to a new report by Amnesty International.
The latest in a series of "largely ignored" articles by the Boston Globe's Charlie Savage, detailing President Bush's use of "signing statements" to declare himself unbound by "more than 750 laws enacted since he took office," quotes Sen. Arlen Specter as saying, "There may as well soon not be a Congress."
Bush's claims have "gone well beyond anything to do with national security," Savage said in an appearance on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." Plus: "Has George W. Bush come to believe he's king?"
'The Smarmies of the Night' Chris Lehmann compares the correspondents' dinner to "the banquets thrown by the French colonial attache in the restored version of Apocalypse Now," and a look through 'Journalism's Broken Windows' finds the media "amazingly slow ... to realize that the nature of journalism itself is contested ground."
Secret Service records will reportedly tell only part of the story of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's White House visits, as a former Abramoff associate and Tom DeLay aide, while awaiting sentencing, successfully defends his thesis on Congressional ethics.
Conservative Republicans reportedly "knocked off at least three GOP incumbents" in North Carolina, 'Cracks in GOP Base' are seen in an embattled congressman's Ohio primary victory -- will he "pull a DeLay"? -- and three governors are giving Bush a run for his money.
The New York Times reports that the Taliban are "moving their insurgency into a new phase, flooding ... southern Afghanistan with weapons and men," but evidently, the people who are ridding it of vehicles are not terrorists.
Iraq and Afghanistan are "three yards and a cloud of dust" with "no touchdown passes here that suddenly we might like to see," says Vice President Dick Cheney, in an interview with Vanity Fair. More: 'Bush apparently gave Cheney power to preside over National Security Council meetings.'
Iraq's entire oil industry is described as 'On the Verge of Collapse,' with the commander of the fleet guarding what "looks like a scene ... from 'Waterworld'" quoted as saying that a successful USS Cole-type attack "would raise the world market price by several dollars within hours."
"Given this history," writes Chalmers Johnson, "why should we be surprised that in Baghdad ... a continuously changing cohort ... fresh from power-point lectures at the American Enterprise Institute," has produced a situation seen as comparable to "The Ransom of Red Chief"?
Sen. Hillary Clinton is facing "fierce opposition from within her own party," reports Joshua Frank, because she "supports a continued occupation of Iraq," and "her stance on Iran isn't much better; in fact, it may be worse."
The House Armed Services committee is reportedly considering funding research for a "largely secret" Bush administration project to use artificial stars, mirrors, and laser beams to "destroy enemy satellites in orbit." Plus: Self-locked and loaded.
"The first in a series of 21" government studies reportedly "eliminates a significant area of uncertainty in the debate over global warming, one that the administration has long cited as a rationale for proceeding cautiously."
Monitoring 'All That Glitters,' Billmon ponders "a 60% increase in the dollar price of real money in just one year," while Underground Panther in the Sky asks, 'What exactly do Conservatives conserve?'
Mike Davis explores the devastating impact of international economic policies on 'Slum Ecology,' in an essay adapted from his book, "Planet of Slums," in which he sees the "war on terrorism" as "an incipient world war between the American empire and the slum poor." Plus: 'The Lodi Front.'
In an Austin Chronicle cover story, "the most outspoken of New Orleans musicians" cited Davis's Nation article, 'Who Is Killing New Orleans?' -- described as "a detailed look into an agenda to transform his funky hometown into a homogenized casino waterfront."
Read how one radio station managed to preserve an audio history of the Big Easy Jazz Heritage, despite the fact that, after "the whole collection was exposed to rain" by Katrina, "the city wouldn't give us a permit to re-enter New Orleans."
Thursday, May 4, 2006
It's observed that since 9/11 "bit players often have been put on trial, while those thought to have orchestrated the plots have been held in secret for questioning," but 'Noonan's Lament' is seen as a sign of the whole mighty wurlitzer "coming unglued."
The New Yorker's George Packer describes a 'Not Wise' White House strategy that "amounts to muddling through the rest of the Bush Presidency, without being forced to admit defeat, until January of 2009, when the war will become a new President's problem."
Salon's Joan Walsh writes that "the only thing worse than the mainstream media ignoring Stephen Colbert's astonishing sendup of the Bush administration and its media courtiers ... is what happened when they started to pay attention to it."
Calling on the U.S. Senate to 'Investigate Big Dick' and his 2001 Energy Task Force, Stephen Pizzo argues that "almost everyone else except Congress has tried to get this information out of the administration."
The AP reports on a case in which the Justice Department, whose "last voting-rights case alleging discrimination against black voters was filed in 2001," is "for the first time" using the Voting Rights Act of 1965 "to allege racial discrimination against whites."
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is portrayed as "a clueless, collapsing coward" who had to be ordered out of the bathroom on Air Force One, in Douglas Brinkley's new book on "The Great Deluge." More from the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Moderate Voice rounds up coverage of the "quick about-face" on drug decriminalization by Mexico's President Vicente Fox, reportedly following "intense pressure from the United States." Plus: Another perspective on 'Mexico's Legacy.'
Godsmack frontman Sully Erna, interviewed by ARTHUR editor Jay Babcock, says, "We just simply, an opportunity came up, they wanted to use some music for a recruit commercial. What are we gonna say, no?"
'When Warriors Come Home,' writes Bob Herbert, they must re-enter a culture "programmed to keep the savagery below the level of our national consciousness as much as possible," now that 'Our Descent Into Hell Has Begun.'
Friday, May 5, 2006
The release of "captured outtakes" of a video purporting to show that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is "a warrior leader ... who doesn't understand how to operate his weapons system," leads to questions about why he has been so hard to capture and why the U.S. military is telling him what it knows.
After being characterized by the AP as having 'Heckled' Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was asked by CNN's Paula Zahn, "How much of an ax do you have to grind with Secretary Rumsfeld?"
In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Ronald Reagan's former NSA head, retired Lt. Gen. William Odom, warns the U.S. to get out of Iraq now, and Tom Engelhardt looks at the many last chances still envisioned for "American preponderance."
Bill Scher sees the fight between Juan Cole and Christopher Hitchens over the translation of remarks by Iran's president as "potentially useful in preventing the neocons from successfully re-running the Iraq playbook for Iran."
War In Context says that in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, "the government's miscalculation seems to have been in overestimating the public's appetite for vengeance... and in underestimating this jury's interest in applying the law."
In a Washington Post op-ed on 'How Not to Fight Terrorism,' law professor David Cole writes that the U.S. government can't try the alleged mastermind of 9/11 or the man said to be the real would-be 20th hijacker, "because any such proceeding would turn into a trial of the United States' own tactics in the war on terrorism."
As Vice President Cheney rebukes Russia for having "unfairly and improperly restricted the rights of her people," Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg says a Republican proposal in Congress to set up a watchdog over the federal courts "sounds to me very much like the Soviet Union." Plus: Has Cheney gone and started another war?
The recent conviction of six green activists for "animal enterprise terrorism" is said to be evidence that the Bush administration "is slowly replacing communists lurking in every shadow with terrorists."
As a 'Bible Reading Marathon' at the U.S. capitol comes to a close with President Bush declaring that "America is a nation of prayer," Helen Thomas says the clergy, like the media and most members of Congress "are victims of the post-Sept. 11 syndrome that equates any criticism of U.S. policy with lack of patriotism."
In an extended excerpt from "Lapdogs," Eric Boehlert argues that 'the U.S. media abandoned its post as Bush led the country into a disastrous war,' while Jack Schafer endorses the view that the Bush administration's relation to the press is more "decertification" than "war." Plus: Robert Parry on 'Colbert & the Courtier Press.'
As a new CNN host prepares to enter stage right, the Christian Science Monitor finds that "a resurgence of theater's role as social commentator" provides an alternative to CNN, and the New York Observer notes that in Alabama, 'Times are changing, thanks to Bush's war.'
Election results leave Britain's Labour Party with "its worst share of the vote since the Falklands war in 1982," and Paul Krugman cites as possible reasons why "Americans are much sicker than the English," overwork and a poorly designed health care system.
Mary Cheney tells gay critics that "we each have to choose our own path," the firing of a gay advisor to the DNC is said to be "just another thread in a long rope," and the Traditional Values Coalition criticizes 'pro-gay propaganda' on CBS.
The political uses the Bush administration has found for "sound science" are rediscovered in a Knight Ridder article, but a Daily Kos poster disputes the claim that no one is sure what the term means.
As Rep. Katherine Harris tests a new ad, a former political strategist for her campaign reportedly "said Harris ignored her staff's recommendation to reject a defense contractor's $10 million appropriation request, now being challenged by a congressional watchdog group." Plus: 'How do you handle a hungry man?'
Monday, May 8, 2006
President Bush's nominee to head the CIA, Gen. Michael Hayden, faces opposition on both sides of the aisle, "but apparently that's a feature, not a bug." Earlier: Knight Ridder's Jonathan Landay schools Hayden on the Fourth Amendment.
Tony Snow is met with "Just one of those mysteries," after 'The Fix-It-Man' offered no explanation for a sudden resignation that the White House insists "had been discussed for several weeks," and several papers trace to a "turf war" between the CIA and Defense Department, but not everyone is buying the official story.
The New York Daily News connected Goss's resignation to allegations that he and the number-three official at the CIA, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, may have attended "Watergate poker parties where bribes and prostitutes were provided to a corrupt congressman." Update: Foggo has resigned.
As Rep. Tom DeLay accuses Democrats of ethics lapses, DNC Chair Howard Dean predicts that the "culture of corruption" will hurt Republican chances in November, but dismisses the idea that Democrats would seek to impeach President Bush if they won back control of Congress.
With the GOP said to be spoiling for an election year fight over judicial nominations as a way of energizing its base, the Democrats consider filibustering a "a political partisan warrior," who has been accused of repeatedly violating federal conflict of interest statutes.
Frank Rich laments that "United 93" arrived too late to prevent the blurring of "the war against Islamic terrorists with the Iraqi quagmire," President Bush celebrates the resistance of the passengers as "the first counterattack to World War III," and Mickey Z. asks: "Is it too soon for a movie about Fallujah?"
Asking 'Who's Crazy Now?', Paul Krugman says the inability of right wing pundits to "admit that they built a personality cult around a man who has proved almost pathetically unequal to the job" leads them to invent "a vast conspiracy of America-haters in the media ... hiding the good news from the public."
Pointing out that not every expansion of federal power or increase in domestic federal spending can reasonably be termed "liberalism," Glenn Greenwald takes apart one "strikingly new" theme in the conservative rebranding campaign that aims "to disassociate their political movement from the wildly unpopular George Bush."
With "Tony Blair accusing supporters of Gordon Brown and leftwing MPs of seeking to stage a coup," the Independent reports that Jack Straw lost his portfolio "after a phone call from the White House" expressing displeasure over the former foreign minister's public opposition to military action against Iran.
An AP article details the complexity of attempts to bring under the rule of law the growing number of multinational private security companies operating in Iraq, and the Washington Post reports on efforts to increase accountability of intelligence contractors working in "the Pentagon's newest and fastest-growing intelligence agency." Plus: The "unwritten rules" of Raytheon's CEO.
As 'Death squads deepen division in Baghdad' and the killing of Iraqi civilians reaches record numbers, with "many of them found hogtied and shot execution-style," Robert Fisk relates Syrian concerns that the U.S. might be provoking a civil war in Iraq, and talking points touting progress there are circulated by the USDA.
Tariq Ali argues that "what has prevented the crisis in Iraq from becoming a total debacle for the United States has been the open collaboration of the Iranian clerics," and Iran's president writes a letter to his U.S. counterpart, proposing "new solutions" to their differences.
'The Wide War' The Pentagon is said to be attempting to paint "the tri-border region of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina" as "ground zero" in a broad view of the War on Terror, which "melts away distinctions between Shiites from Sunnis or either from Marxists."
The New York Times magazine profiles the growing anti-contraception movement, many of whose activists fear "a preoccupation with sex that is unhealthful even within marriage" and frankly admit that what motivates "their efforts is a religious commitment to altering the moral landscape of the country."
As a Harris poll shows support for Roe at its lowest level in decades, and abstinence only advocates are moved to the front of the line, a study by the Guttmacher Institute suggests that a decline in the use of contraceptives has led to a rise in the abortion rate among poor women.
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
An 18-page letter from Iran's president is said to inquire whether occupying Iraq, and holding prisoners without trial in Guantanamo Bay, "correspond to the teachings of Jesus Christ" -- and to ask President Bush, "Are you pleased with the current condition of the world?"
In an interview, former Clinton National Security Council official Flynt Leverett repeated his assertion that Bush rejected a 2003 Iranian offer to open a strategic dialogue, adding that Bush is "very, very resistant to the idea of doing a deal, even a deal that would solve the nuclear problem."
As the FBI probes the CIA's Number 3, whose resignation is described as "pretty standard," it's affirmed that "at least six former and current members of Congress" attended parties linked to the scandal, along with one man said to have formerly "kept company with an acquaintance whose work attire resembled Halle Berry's" in "Catwoman."
Although MSNBC's David Shuster is "convinced" that Karl Rove will be indicted, a former Rove colleague says "journalists would do well to remember" that "Karl will likely run the works again," while The Hill finds Rove preparing 20 judges. Plus: 'A Tale of Two Roves.'
'The greedy truth about media consultants' lurks behind Salon's ad-wall, and D.C. restauranteurs complain that the Abramoff scandal is turning their dining establishments into "potential crime scenes."
With the war in Iraq now more unpopular than the Vietnam War, and Iraq's incoming prime minister hoping to form a unity government soon, Robert Dreyfuss analyzes a proposal aimed at 'Destroying Iraq To Save It.'
The Los Angeles Times profiles the U.S. commander in charge of day-to-day military operations in Iraq, who says that some U.S. troops have been their "own worst enemy," as soldiers balk at wearing "goofy" looking "alien spacesuits."
As Sen. Russ Feingold, speaking at the National Press Club, says that 'Democrats Must Stand Up to Bush,' Slate's John Dickerson calls a move by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi "unbelievably ... stupid," and David Sirota finds Sen. 'Hillary Clinton's "Mating Ritual" With Rupert Murdoch' to be "almost too much to stomach."
California researchers ask, 'Where have all the butterflies gone?' and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution editorializes that "If the scientific 'debate' over global warming was ... a game of strip poker, the Bush administration would be wearing its boxer shorts right now."
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
A "change of tactics" is said to draw "private grumbling" from inside the Bush administration, while a former secretary of state urges direct talks with Iran, and the Guardian's Simon Jenkins says, if Ahmadinejad's letter is a bluff, call it.
As 'Bush Spins His Iran Attack Plans,' it's recalled that, shortly after 9/11, Defense Under Secretary Douglas Feith reportedly suggested that the U.S. "surprise" the terrorists by attacking South America.
Half-price flour proves deadly for 19 in 'City Called Model by Bush,' as Baghdad's Sunni Arabs reportedly form "citizen groups to keep ... paramilitary forces out," and a Shia Muslim ringtone sets off a fight in parliament.
A Florida TV station reports that all Osama bin Laden "had to do was go through the trash early Tuesday morning" to learn precise details of the presidential party's travel plans in Florida, where Bush talked legacy.
"This is much bigger and wider than just Randy 'Duke' Cunningham," a top Pentagon investigator is quoted as saying, adding that "it won't be much longer and then you will know just how widespread this is." Plus: Distinguished Service Awards for Goss and Cheney.
House and Senate GOP leaders approved a $70 billion tax cut package, with tax breaks for special interests, including General Electric, the University of Texas and rich songwriters. People making less than $20,000 would reportedly save $2 a year.
Following calls for his resignation, HUD secretary Alphonso Jackson, through a spokesman, puts forth the explanation that he was only trying to send a message with an "anecdotal" tale of punishing political opponents.
Discussing the "slumification of the planet" in an interview, Mike Davis predicts that virtually "the entire future growth of humanity will occur in cities, overwhelmingly in poor cities, and the majority of it in slums."
Better Than Latvia The "wealthiest country in the world" ranks next to last among industrialized nations, with a newborn mortality rate nearly three times higher than that of Finland, Iceland, Norway and Japan, according to a 'Mother's Day Report Card' from Save the Children.
However, "U.S. teen pregnancy rates are double those in England and Canada, and nine times more than those in the Netherlands and Japan," because 'Abstinence Backfires.'
Writing that Stephen Colbert's performance "surely proved that ... there's no bigger bunch of crybabies in American public life than the fops and courtiers of our Washington press corps," Gene Lyons predicts that 'Celebrity pundits are on their way out.' Plus: What do Iran's president and Colbert have in common?
Thursday, May 11, 2006
USA Today reports that "the National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth," but not Qwest, and that former NSA chief Gen. Michael Hayden "would have overseen the ... call-tracking program."
President Bush addressed what he called these "new claims," and closed by saying that "as a general matter, every time sensitive intelligence is leaked, it hurts our ability to defeat this enemy." Readers make their call at USA Today's blog and Dana Priest comments in an online chat.
Sidney Blumenthal accuses President Bush of 'Killing the CIA,' John Kelley urges readers to pray for the agency, and Margaret Carlson writes of Porter Goss's resignation, "If that's the positive spin, imagine what the truth must look like."
Another congressman 'Surfaces in Probe of Cunningham,' and is said to have gone "as far as to kill a major weapons program" to get $6 million for "co-conspirator No. 1," while House Republicans give an embattled colleague a standing ovation, after which one GOP lawmaker called him a "dead man walking."
A former aide to Sen. Trent Lott "appears to be the first appeals court nominee in about 25 years to receive a unanimous rating of unqualified" from the American Bar Association, and The Hill reports that the 'Gang balks on Judge Boyle' as well, even with 'Republicans eager for judicial fight.'
Bob Herbert argues that the GOP is "ready to be routed" if Democrats will only "climb off the couch ... and take a stand," while Peggy Noonan says losing may teach Congressional Republicans not to be so liberal, and Will Bunch identifies the new "silent majority."
A Heritage Foundation official is quoted as saying that disaffection among Bush and the GOP's 'Core Supporters' "begins with spending, extends through immigration and results in a sense that we have Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee for the two parties." Plus: Hillary to the rescue.
'Boys With Toys' The Arizona Republic reports that "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in federal Homeland Security grant money have been spent by Arizona agencies on things like ATVs, Q-Tips, leather wallets, hat badges and binoculars.
Publication of the updated post-Abu Ghraib Army Field Manual on interrogation has reportedly been put on hold, with some members of Congress concerned that different rules for enemy prisoners of war and "unlawful combatants" may contradict the torture ban passed by Congress last year.
Analyzing 'The Black Stake in the Internet," the Black Commentator's Bruce Dixon begs to differ with those who, after aligning themselves with telecom front organizations, argue that net neutrality is not "our issue."
A British man, who claimed he was looking for evidence of UFOs when he hacked into U.S. military computers shortly after 9/11, says he fears being sent to Guantanamo Bay if extradited to the U.S. for trial, but one columnist thinks the U.S. should offer him a job.
Friday, May 12, 2006
The Los Angeles Times reports that "the rekindled argument also is likely to complicate the push ... for legislation providing explicit legal authority for the NSA warrantless surveillance." Plus: 'Poisoned Fruit'
"Shame on us," lamented Sen. Patrick Leahy as he waved a copy of USA Today's article, which the White House will neither confirm nor deny it tried to suppress, while TalkLeft sees "more than meets the eye" and Defense Tech examines the "haystack strategy," which one analyst calls "a waste of time."
Kurt Nimmo puts domestic spying in historical context, Peter Daou suggests that we are reacting like "frogs in slow-boiling water," Media Matters finds TV reports minimizing the extent of NSA access, and Think Progress raises the possibility that the 'Telcos could be liable for tens of billions of dollars.'
Juan Cole writes that Iraq's Prime Minister-designate "seems doomed to preside over a lot of violence and chaos," and a former U.S. diplomat says, "many people in the government believe the war is crazy, but are afraid to speak out."
As "recent aircraft carrier activity and current operations on the ground in Iran have raised red flags," it's argued that Iranian nukes is 'not the real issue,' and that the mainstream media has sustained a narrative of threat and crisis "by the use of patriotic and fear-mongering frames and suppressions of relevant fact."
With a "spate of articles" advancing a 'Neocon Dream Scenario' of 'Venezuela Supplying Iran With Uranium,' the author of "Empire's Workshop" posits that the U.S. learned how to be "an exceptional empire" in Latin America, and another observer goes about 'Challenging our Mala Prensa on Latin America.'
"For more than 500 years, our resources have been pillaged," declared Bolivian President Morales, announcing that nationalization was not going to be limited to oil and warning his neighbors not to sign trade agreements with the U.S. Plus: A failed attempt to export 'Spin Democracy.'
What started as a dispute between flower vendors and police is said to potentially impact Mexico's upcoming presidential election, about which Subcomandante Marcos, in his first media interview in five years, asks: "What difference does it make if Calderon is a potential Hitler and Madrazo is a criminal and Lopez Obrador is a cheat?"
As a corruption investigation expands to include "several members of the House Appropriations Committee," the rise of "Dusty" Foggo is said to illustrate "the conservative cronyism, leak paranoia and political vendettas that undermined Goss's tenure." Earlier: Laura Rozen on the 'murky world of CIA black contracts.'
The Wall Street Journal is accused of having 'ignored disproportionate benefits for wealthy in GOP tax package,' which "would be politically irresponsible," blogs Robert Reich, "but not obscene, if it went to middle-income workers."
"Glad to have you on board," says Brad Blog, as the New York Times reports on "the most severe security flaw ever discovered in a voting system," which is also "being described as an intentional hole left in the system to allow elections workers to update voting software easily."
Media Lens critiques the aversion of the British press to confronting the role of economic growth in global warming, as "Halliburton" solves global warming and Stephenie Hendricks details the "increasingly close ties" between the Wise Use movement and the New Christian Right.
Salon excerpts Michelle Goldberg's new book, "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism," as a "maverick" Senator prepares to give commencement addresses first at Liberty University and then at the New School.
After claiming during an appearance on the "700 Club" that the party platform says "marriage is between a man and a woman," DNC Chair Howard Dean issued a retraction that did not satisfy everyone, while Pam Spaulding wondered, "Is this the new Dem outreach?"
Monday, May 15, 2006
Polls by Newsweek and USA Today finding that the majority of Americans think the NSA's surveillance program "goes too far in invading people's privacy," 'refuted' an earlier Washington Post poll that led to talk of a 'Bush Rebound.'
Qwest's former CEO reveals that he turned down government requests for data access because of "a disinclination on the part of the authorities to use any legal process," while the other big phone companies face complex questions of financial liability. Plus: 'The NSA is on the line -- all of them.'
As connections between telecoms and domestic spying are traced back to recommendations of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in the Ford Administration, "cyberspace" coiner William Gibson ponders the implications for the future.
The New York Times reports on Vice President Cheney's early advocacy of an expanded domestic surveillance program, whose existence was denied by John Negroponte as recently as a week ago, and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley 'defends eavesdropping,' insisting that it was legal and "narrowly designed."
A filing by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald containing newly disclosed notes showing that Cheney personally asked whether Joseph Wilson had been sent by his wife on a "junket" to Africa, leads to speculation that Fitzgerald is "closing in on Cheney."
After reporting 'Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators,' Jason Leopold promised to disclose his sources if the article turns out to be untrue, as part of his response to charges by Rove's spokesman. Plus: 'David Corn confronts Rove on lying about Plame leak.'
Frank Rich lambasts the Bush administration for attempts to foist blame on the press, arguing that it's "the recklessness at the top of our government ... that has truly aided the enemy," and "if there's to be a witch hunt for traitors, that's where it should begin."
With a poll now showing that character is perhaps not President Bush's hidden strength, a senior member of the CIA-led team that was inspecting Iraqi "bioweapons trailers," tells the AP that one year after the trailers were discredited, U.S. officials were still suppressing the findings.
In response to a proposal being floated by the White House to deploy "a force of thousands" of National Guard, Mexican President Fox expresses concern over the militarization of the border, and senators from both parties warn that the armed forces are already stretched pretty thin.
As the U.S. Army distances itself from the HBO documentary, "Baghdad ER," soldiers complain that "the American public is largely unaffected by the war" and "doesn't understand what it's like." Plus: 'Mentally Unfit, Forced To Fight.'
YouTube yanks the video of "President" Gore reviewing the accomplishments of his administration, and a GOP presidential hopeful trying to reconnect with a religious right increasingly critical of the Republican party, lashes out at bloggers.
As it's speculated that "Gore-Warner is the winning ticket in '08," some Democrats worry that "the worst-case scenario may be winning control of Congress by a slim margin," others attack "McGoverns with modems," and Hullabaloo's Digby issues a call "to stop the hell these crazy bastards have unleashed and start down a new path."
'D For Debacle' Paul Krugman argues that the "botched start up" of Medicare's prescription drug plan is a predictable result of a politicized policy that amounts to "a complex system of subsidies to private insurance companies."
A New York Times editorial finds in the HUD Secretary, the perfect expression of "the bare-knuckled political bias that taints the administration's contract awarding" process, and A Tiny Revolution explores the logic behind some surprising symmetries in political rhetoric.
A man that one U.S. Army publication locates at the center of the "largest threat since the Soviet Union and Communism," goes to London but snubs the Prime Minister, and it's argued that "venomous attacks" on him stem from his promise of a decent society for the poor.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
After getting off to an early start, President Bush's new National Guard border patrol plan 'Draws GOP Fire' -- and ridicule from Rush Limbaugh -- six months after Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff rejected "a horribly over-expensive ... way to manage this problem."
As the Los Angeles Times reports that National Guard units will be giving up their "only block of sustained training time," conservatives fear that 'GOP '06 Prospects Took a Hit Last Night." Plus: "What a shoddy way to say thank you ..."
In a speech said to smack of "desperate improvisation," Karl Rove reportedly "inflicted a barrage of statistics on his audience" and had "almost finished" before using "a heck of a poor choice of words" in discussing illegal immigration. More on 'Rove vs. Reality.'
After The Hill reported that Sen. Arlen 'Specter strikes NSA deal,' Glenn Greenwald explained that Bush allies were holding out for the removal of a clause that would mandate "a judicial ruling on the legality of the administration's behavior."
After Survey USA finds President Bush's job approval rating ranging from a high of 52 percent in Idaho to a low of 23 percent in Rhode Island, Chris Bowers goes county-by-county and state-by-state in search of a 'Blue Nation.'
A "former New York Times reporter" takes on Libya's WMD in the Wall Street Journal, touting the Bush administration's "sole undeniable -- if largely unheralded -- intelligence and nonproliferation success." But guess who's coming to dinner.
'The Iceman Cometh' John Chuckman argues that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government "represents little more than an intense public relations effort to achieve majority government." Plus: A source of inspiration for Canadian climate strategy.
While the House Judiciary Committee approved the Votings Rights Act extension 33-1 last week, seven Georgia Republicans have reportedly "managed to block it" from coming to a vote on a floor.
The centerpiece of 'The Real Jazzfest,' according to Tom D'Antoni, was not appearances by Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, but a performance in which Big Chief Monk Boudreau of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indians "unleashed all of the anger and all of the sorrow inside of him."
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
'Suddenly, Mr. Centrist' and his administration are now "locked in a triple-hammer hold that would defeat Houdini," writes CBS's Dick Meyer, and "Bush has at his disposal none -- none -- of the tools presidents have used to turn bad situations around."
As another poll confirms that Iraq "looms over everything," Patrick Cockburn reports that "one person is being assassinated in Basra every hour," and throughout Iraq, 'Gays flee as religious militias sentence them all to death.' Plus: 'Support Our Troops, Anybody?'
'Senators Hammer Out Immigration Details,' softening a "poison pill" that had been trumpeted in a Washington Times headline, as White House sources indicate "a larger role in the debate" for Vice President Cheney.
The SPLC previously charged CNN's Lou Dobbs with failing to present "mounting and persistent evidence of anti-Hispanic racism in anti-immigration groups and citizen border patrols ... as he doggedly explores and supports the anti-immigration movement."
Mexican officials threatened to file lawsuits in U.S. courts over National Guard troops on the border, while Ottawa's ambassador warns that the U.S. crackdown on Mexico could hit Canada, and Molly Ivins inquires, "Do we have a State Department?"
"It's unclear," replied U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, appearing on CNN's "The Situation Room," when asked by Wolf Blitzer whether his grandparents came to Texas from Mexico legally. Plus: Fox's 'Shepard Smith Gets Tough' on Gonzales.
After two telcos named in a lawsuit seeking $200 billion in damages issued "carefully worded denials" regarding their involvement in a spy program which reportedly gave the NSA "access to records of most telephone calls" in the U.S., USA Today promised to "look closely into the issues raised by" the statements.
"When they know about it, they are obligated to be quiet," said a senior GOP aide, discussing "ancillary benefits" of a White House decision to brief more members of Congress on the NSA spy program.
Rep. John 'Murtha sparks pork envy' as Pennsylvania Republicans complain about not getting "their proper share of earmarked funding," but only one Democrat cracked the top ten in the new Congressional "Power Rankings."
As an Enron trial goes to the jury, the presiding judge in the Enron case reportedly "stunned the legal community" by instructing jurors that they may find Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling guilty of being "deliberately ignorant."
"One of South Carolina's biggest financial undertakings in modern times" is said to involve "rivers of underground money" -- nearly $100 million -- for "preservation and promotion" of a Confederate submarine.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
As NSA eavesdropping's "most forceful defender" and "a favorite on the Hill" faces new questioning from holders of 'The Easiest Job in the World,' CQPolitics asks its Board of Advisors, 'Could NSA Database Be a Boost for Bush?'
'Congress briefed, then gagged,' on NSA/telecom spying, USA Today editorializes, while it's speculated that "it's not a question of giving or taking the data ... so much as giving the NSA access to the switches."
The AP reports that Rep. James Sensenbrenner "said it was the White House that had requested two controversial felony provisions in the bill the House passed last winter." And, see who was missing from a CNN "roundtable discussion" following Bush's speech on immigration.
As Josh Marshall observes that "Today there's just one item on the agenda: preventing the Democrats from taking control of either house of Congress. And the key issue is subpoena power," former Clinton aide Lanny Davis reportedly said, "digging up whether Bush lied or not, or whether they manipulated evidence or not. That's just playing gotcha."
Truthout stands by its Rove indictment story, Wayne Madsen predicts a Friday announcement, and Jason Leopold expresses amazement that not a single mainstream reporter "would actually do any real investigative work and get to the bottom of this story."
U.S. troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood" in Haditha, according to Rep. John Murtha, as the war in Iraq is said to have produced its own My Lai, and Glenn Greenwald "can't think of a single prominent Democratic political figure (perhaps other than Joe Lieberman) who hasn't been routinely accused of being a traitor."
Commenting on deployment of a device intended to temporarily blind Iraqi drivers with lasers, Army Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the commander in charge of day-to-day operations in Iraq, reportedly said, "I have no doubt that bullets are less safe." Plus: 'Death Ray -- or Accounting Shift?'
Media coverage that presents a "rather comfortable portrait of the U.S. as a bumbling, even thoroughly incompetent giant overwhelmed by unexpected forces tearing Iraqi society apart is strikingly inaccurate," says Michael Schwartz.
In an interview with AlterNet, Judith Miller claimed that she was warned of a large scale attack before 9/11, but that "in Washington, if you don't have a sense of immediacy about something, and if you sense that there is bureaucratic resistance to a story, you tend to focus on areas of less resistance."
News that Rep. Cynthia McKinney is a co-sponsor of a resolution commending Capitol Police is called "the latest about-face for the Georgia lawmaker," despite the fact that McKinney announced her support for the resolution on April 6.
As Fox's Bill O'Reilly defends "the white Christians who hold power" against far-left thinkers, White House press secretary Tony Snow refers to ABC as a "competing network" during a press gaggle, after declining to "hug the tar baby" and launching a Snowstorm.
Friday, May 19, 2006
Hayden testified that he was not comfortable with some earlier approaches to intelligence analysis, and Ken Silverstein traces 'The (lack of) intelligence underpinning Bush's Iraq policy' to "fairy tales."
Ray McGovern tells CNN that he doesn't think Hayden is qualified because "he made one big error," and Media Matters asks, 'Why did CNN wait for hearing questions to note Hayden's misleading 2002 congressional testimony?'
McGovern also accuses congress of 'Bowing to the Police State,' and Balkanization describes the twin dangers of a national surveillance state as "national security displacing the criminal justice system and the criminal justice becoming increasingly like the national security system."
The U.N. Committee on Torture admonishes the U.S. to "close its prison at Guantanamo ... and avoid using secret detention facilities," and CIA officials are said to corroborate "reports that extraordinary renditions ... have taken place on European soil with the blessing of E.U. governments."
As the MPAA censors the poster for an award-winning documentary about Guantanamo, the BBC reports that the U.S. military is "putting soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan into its video game in an attempt to put a human face on its operations overseas."
The 'Axis of Feeble' is "facing almost total isolation in Iraq," observes the Guardian, following Italian Prime Minister Prodi's promise to withdraw all his country's troops. Plus: 'British troops are caught in deadly trap as troubles grow on two fronts.'
Talk show host Michael Savage likened Jimmy Carter to Hitler for his criticisms of Israeli policies, during a week that saw the Israeli Supreme Court uphold a law that "bans residents of the West Bank and Gaza who marry Israelis from getting Israeli citizenship, residency or even entry permits."
Congress symbolically declares English the official language, a bipartisan proposal to elevate the head of the National Guard to the Joint Chiefs of Staff is rejected, and President Bush races along the border, as it's charged that deploying National Guard troops there could violate the Posse Comitatus Act.
The foreign ministers of four Central American nations joined Mexico in condemning the U.S. government's plan to build hundreds of miles of fence between the countries, but the response from Mexican lawmakers was more impassioned.
Following "a heated exchange" over moving a debate on a gay marriage ban 'behind closed doors,' CNN's Jack Cafferty commented that instead of focusing on all of the pressing issues facing the country, the Republicans "go grovel at the feet of the lunatic fringe."
As a bill is introduced in Congress to guarantee net neutrality, and an unexpected ally gets on board, tech companies line up in opposition, but it's argued that without open access to media, "the media's role in our democracy as a check and balance on government" is compromised.
Michelle Goldberg discusses a multifaceted strategy for saving secular society, George Will devalues "values voter," it's reported that the religious left is struggling to find a 'unifying message,' and Ralph Reed gets some help from the North.
The New York Observer finds Sen. Clinton's calculated ambiguity on Iraq "hardly a viable long-term option," the Bay Guardian criticizes the House Minority Leader for becoming "too much of a moderate Democrat," and the New York Times picks up on a challenge from the left that is said to have left one senator "acting like a man desperately afraid of losing."
'Coming Down to Earth' As Paul Krugman warns that uneasy markets are a sign that the national game "in which people make a living by selling one another houses" may be coming to an end, some middle income families receive shocking news.
Monday, May 22, 2006
British Prime Minister Blair makes a surprise visit to Iraq to hail "a new beginning," but the country's leaders are said to inspire little faith, as it's argued that the narrative of sovereignty being peddled ignores 'the elephant in the Iraqi chamber.'
Needlenose finds 'evidence of absence' in a New York Times report on how 'Misjudgments marred U.S. plans for Iraqi police,' but Fox News' Brit Hume sees the bright side of persistent violence. Part Two: 'How Iraq police reform became casualty of war.'
Miller Time A new trial over abuse at Abu Ghraib "will for the first time include the testimony of a key military officer who carried out policy instructions issued by senior officials in Washington."
As the Independent offers up what it calls the 'Inside story of the Guantanamo uprising,' the New York Times publishes poems from inmates there, and an indictment by the U.N. Committee Against Torture is read.
Ted Koppel 'Goes Mercenary' in considering the merits of "a defensive military force paid for directly by the corporations that would most benefit from its protection," and Robert Parry laments the first generation of Americans that "has chosen to trade liberties for safety."
As Attorney General Gonzales says he thinks journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, ABC News' Brian Ross remarks that the government's program of spying on journalists "makes me feel ... as if we are drug dealers or terrorists."
As Israel approves expansion of four West Bank settlements and the Palestinian crisis is said to be 'now more dramatic even than apartheid,' the Israeli Supreme Court President attempts to minimize the importance of a recent ruling.
A Libyan blogger argues that what's missing in the U.S. reconciliation with his country amounts to an "utter break with the rhetoric of democratization in the Middle East," while press coverage of Egypt is said to prop up "all the hoo-ha from President Bush about promoting democracy."
Frank Rich sees parallels in the co-opting of voters of faith and the "Machiavellian" marketing campaign for "The Da Vinci Code," Richard Viguerie complains about 'Bush's Base Betrayal,' and E.J. Dionne identifies "a conflict between Bush's immediate political interests and the interests of many Republican candidates on the ballot."
One day after former Sen. John Edwards said that "You have to give Bush and Cheney and gang credit for being good at politics -- you know, good at political campaigns," it's reported that "Bush has turned his attention to the campaign."
Meeting up with "A rough crowd for agents of American imperialism," Sen. John McCain was confronted with an impassioned objection that a McCain aide derided as "an act of vanity." Plus: 'New School Fallout: When McCain Attacks.'
Paul Krugman argues that Joseph Lieberman's consistent support of Republican talking points has made the senator "a lion of the Sunday talk shows, but has put him out of touch with his constituents -- and with reality."
Stop Your Engines As several leading Democratic writers question the party's relationship with "Nascar Man," Matthew Yglesias locates "the reflex that's been crippling Democrats ever since 9/11" in the party's Iraq policy. Plus: "We see the horseshit. Show us the ponies."
In a "partial apology," Truthout's editor faults the timing of a Rove indictment story for "getting too far out in front of the news-cycle" but stands by the content of its reporting and calls denials by Rove associates false. He follows up with speculation that "Rove may be turning state's evidence."
It now appears that former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage will not be indicted but may have emerged as a key witness in the CIA leak probe, as it's argued that he "was trying to leak the news that the Intelligence Community ignored a source's unreliable reputation when they treated the Niger forgeries as credible."
Amid talk of 'an "unprecedented" boom for a devastated city,' a new hurricane season approaches with "over 90,000 Katrina families scattered across Louisiana" still housed in 'FEMA's flying tuna cans,' some of which may be toxic. Earlier: 'The Disappearing City.'
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Amnesty International's annual report denounces the U.S. for "disappearances" at secret CIA-run prisons, increasing evidence of torture and "a failure to hold officials at the highest levels accountable, including individuals who may have been guilty of war crimes or crimes against humanity."
Newsweek's Michael Hirsh reports that containment is 'Washington's New Watchword,' albeit "largely unconscious" because "the president has not permitted an honest reckoning of the difficulties he faces" in Iraq and Iran.
Appearing as part of a "News Hour" panel on Iraq's new government, Nir Rosen warned that "it's just too late ... the civil war is raging and is about to get much worse." Read an excerpt from Rosen's new book on Iraq.
"Use your common sense," a Canada-based medical researcher told the BBC, discussing "astonishing" levels of uranium found in Afghan civilians, while Kandahar's governor said "accidents happen" after U.S. airstrikes killed 16 civilians Monday. And Intervention's Stewart Nusbaumer goes 'On the Road to Kabul.'
As Venezuela's total oil reserves are said to make it 'the Grandest of Grand Prizes for U.S.,' the country's president continues to be depicted in the mainstream media as "an extreme, absurd and threatening figure."
After Wired made public a 'Whistleblower's Evidence, Uncut,' reportedly describing a "secret room" at an AT&T facility, which "only people with security clearance from the National Security Agency can enter," it's suggested that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales "knew this was coming."
Reporting that various government agencies sidestep the Privacy Act by spending millions on "grabbing data wholesale from the private sector,"
The New York Daily News reports that "two top CIA officials" said to have "discussed Plame with Libby a month before columnist Robert Novak blew her cover" will testify at Libby's trial, as "things are becoming a little more complicated now ..."
"If Rove ever is indicted, so what?" says Rigorous Intuition's Jeff Wells, who adds that "The Bush-by-proxy Reagan White House saw the most indictments in U.S. history, and yet it's remembered fondly as a late golden age."
'Total Information Awareness ... For Whom?' asks the editor of the Baltimore Chronicle, whose paper received a letter from a federal agency -- four years after making a FOIA request -- asking "if we still want it."
Molly Ivins is "actually calling them racists," as a Colorado Republican and "Distinguished Christian Statesman" is said to have "become a darling of the Ku Klux Klan." Plus: An "age-defying protein shake" and an interview request.
The national media are accused of failing to report all the good things that happened during and after Katrina, while Time, reporting that "New Orleans was a disaster site before Katrina," wonders, 'What Happened To The Gangs?'
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
After a Washington Post story, which amplified Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' comments on the legality of the NSA phone spying program, failed to include "legal analysis from anyone other than Gonzales," Think Progress took up the slack.
Iran erases a taboo and 'Requests Direct Talks' with the U.S., as government experts have reportedly "exerted mounting pressure on the Bush administration to reply" to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent letter, and a second letter is said to offer "a starting point for negotiations."
In a New York Times report on widespread "freelance government violence" in Iraq, a U.S. official is quoted as saying that "I think they have the evidence now as to who is doing most of the killing," and that "It's a question of political will ... I have just not seen it yet." Plus: 'Plenty of turning points when you're circling the drain.'
"Brother Zacarias Moussaoui," like "all the prisoners of Guantanamo, who were captured in 2001 and the first half of 2002," had "no connection whatsoever to the events of September 11," according to the latest audio tape purported to be from Osama bin Laden, rumored to be "on the move."
A conservative candidate for the Mexican presidency is 'In Attack Mode,' running ads linking his leftist opponent to Venezuela's president, following "informal conversations" with Dick Morris. Earlier: 'Hugo Chavez, the Perennial Issue.'
Earlier, Morris -- who has also reportedly volunteered in Guyana -- warned that "Chavez is a firm ally of Cuba's Fidel Castro. Lopez Obrador could be the final piece in their grand plan to bring the United States to its knees before the newly resurgent Latin left."
Carpetbagger urges White House correspondents to take note that two dozen Canadian journalists boycotted a news conference by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, after he refused to take their questions. More on 'Harper's Riddle' and having things 'his way.'
'Enter Ozone Woman' Maureen Dowd finds Sen. Hillary Clinton "inflating her tires to the right pressure," after the former First lady "went wonkish" in a speech to the National Press Club, also attended by some antiwar protesters.
'Did hell just freeze over?' asks Mark Morford, after reading a "surreal" and "secret" speech heralding "the bizarre and surprising case of the greening of Wal-Mart."
'Fifty Years in Coming' An apology by the Tallahassee Democrat, for "siding firmly with the segregationists" in its coverage of a 1956 bus boycott (led by the Rev. C.K. Steele), was accepted by leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the local NAACP.
'Bring Back Dada' Charles Marowitz suggests "Tzara, thou shouldst be living at this hour!" as an appropriate rallying cry for an age when "the artists are as silent as the students, the students as comatose as their parents."
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Amid reports that 'Cheney may give evidence in Libby trial,' Murray Waas reports that Karl Rove has testified that in a September 2003 phone conversation, Robert Novak promised to protect him. More Waas on a 'Justice Department probe foiled.'
An aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert says the Justice Department is going high and inside on the GOP leader, in retaliation for a "bipartisan request," but ABC News quotes a federal official as saying that "Whether they like it or not, members of Congress, including Hastert, are under investigation."
As the U.S. Senate prepared to 'Set Up Clash' over immigration, a Los Angeles Times analysis found that the 'House GOP's Back Is to the Wall on Borders,' in a looming showdown said to pit the party's "long-term political calculations against its short-term interests."
Probing 'Cracks in Republican Unity,' the Wall Street Journal finds GOP lawmakers "impugning one another's honesty and patriotism on the House floor," with Rep. Tom DeLay lamenting that "Republicans are voting green tonight" and one Democrat explaining that it's because "they smelled meat cooking here."
All Rise "Corporations including Exxon Mobil, Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco" have reportedly contributed large sums of money to organizations that "provided free trips to hundreds of federal judges."
The New York Times reportedly edited a Reuters story on a battle in Afghanistan to "maximize" Taliban casualties and to "exclude all mention of civilian deaths." U.S. officials blamed the Taliban for the deaths of villagers killed when U.S. A-10 gunships strafed their mud compounds.
Anatomy of a hoax Jewish Week reports that a bogus "yellow stripes for Jews" story, subsequently deleted and retracted, was placed in Canada's National Post by Benador Associates, "a boutique firm specializing in promoting neoconservative figures ... who supported the Iraq war and 'regime change' in Iran now."
Regret the Error observes that the National Post placed its retraction "behind a paywall, which is unacceptable."
Despite completion of "one of this generation's greatest adventures in civil engineering," an independent investigators' report is said to "raise concerns" about whether the Army Corps of Engineers "is competent to oversee public safety projects across the nation."
With the New York Times accused of printing a news story "in its own private code," Media Matters probes the author's 'checkered record.' Plus: 'What does and does not fascinate David Broder,' and, an "Achilles heel" for Hillary?
Russia's gays are called 'back to the closet,' but 'Army beckons for boys of the Bolshoi,' while "Don't ask, don't tell" discharges in the U.S. armed forces are reported to be up 11 percent since 2001.
Friday, May 26, 2006
The Los Angeles Times reports that military investigators have concluded that U.S. Marines "wantonly killed unarmed Iraqi civilians" at Haditha, "months after the killings were uncovered by the press."
One day after Gen. Geoffrey Miller took the stand, a military police reservist who ran Abu Ghraib testified that Miller urged guards and interrogators to use dogs "as much as possible" with detainees.
Iraq's prime minister announces a timetable for withdrawl, Robert Bryce highlights the potential for "a meltdown in Iraq's domestic fuel market," the benefits of a real windfall tax on oil profits are touted, and Freewayblogger has a message for SUVs.
"This is not the time to talk of war," writes Rep. Jane Harman, who is facing a strong primary challenge from the left and who may be forced off the House Intelligence Committee because of Democratic concern that she is "too moderate and inclined to accomodate the Republican agenda."
Scroll down for retired Army Major General Paul Eaton's reaction to an appearance on "Larry King Live" by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, whose job performance was the subject of "A series of combative and revealing e-mails" between Knight Ridder's Joe Galloway and chief Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita.
Declaring the defendants "Guilty of crimes -- and a whole lot more," New York Times' reporter and "Conspiracy of Fools" author Kurt Eichenwald sees the Enron trial as a "portrait of a corporate culture poisoned by hubris," while Robert Parry fingers a silent partner.
Asking, 'Have CEOs learned nothing from the Enron scandal?,' Slate's Daniel Gross finds reasons to doubt optimism in the media that "this is the final chapter" in the corporate scandals of the 90s, as one description of Enron's management style is said to "ring a bell."
An "escalating constitutional confrontation between the Justice Department and the House" over the raid on Rep. William Jefferson's office leaves some lawyers puzzled about just what the separation of powers argument is, and Balkinization suggests looking elsewhere for executive overreach.
In 'A Test of Our Character,' Paul Krugman contends that "the right's panicky response to Mr. Gore's film ... reveals for all to see the dishonesty and fear-mongering on which the opposition to doing something about climate change rests," and asks whether we are "ready for political leaders who don't pander."
ABC's "The Note" comes under fire for describing Democratic positions popular in the polls as if they were a shameful secret, the FCC launches a probe of dozens of television stations for airing "fake news" without disclosing sponsors, and Eric Alterman argues that "Time is not on our side."
The Senate passes an immigration bill but President Bush is said to be "facing an open rebellion," and E.J. Dionne argues that the "core problem illegal workers pose for the native-born is that the illegally employed are less likely to demand their rights and to complain about unfair treatment."
Depositions reveal that the ex-FDA chief repeatedly overruled the agency's medical reviewers to "block the morning-after birth control pill from being sold without a prescription," raising concerns about setting a "an ominous precedent for political and potentially theological control" over scientific matters.
As Venezuelan politicians complain about a computer game that 'simulates an invasion' of their country, the creator of a video game-based movie said to be used 'as a recruitment tool by Muslim militants,' denies that it is political but points to a U.S. Army's video game used to recruit soldiers.
Hamas muzzles its fighters but makes no concessions, after Palestinian President Abbas issues an ultimatum to recognize Israel within 10 days or face a national referendum on the issue. Plus: 'Palestinian vs. Palestinian.'
Glenn Greenwald reports on the last stand of a National Post story, while the Guardian's external ombudsman draws a line under "a controversy about journalistic integrity" generated by its interview with Noam Chomsky.
Monday, May 29, 2006
The testimony of survivors and mobile phone pictures are said to tie U.S. Marines to 'The shame of Haditha,' where graffiti on one house reportedly read, "Democracy assassinated the family that was here." But Reuters reports that "many Iraqis shrug it off as an every day fact of life under occupation."
A former planner at the Joint Chiefs of Staff warns that "What we're seeing more of now... is the end result of fuzzy, imprecise national direction combined with situational ethics at the highest levels of this government," and Editor & Publisher recalls that months before Haditha, a Knight Ridder reporter noted worries that marines might "crack under the pressure."
Two senators claim to have "direct evidence of top officers trying to suppress information," the New York Times is accused of "mitigating atrocity with qualifiers," and it's argued that "the media's uncritical acceptance of the Iraq hawks' spin...makes them complicit in crimes like those alleged in Haditha."
With more U.S. Marines in the brig pending an investigation into the death of an Iraqi civilian, 'Kabul Erupts in Gunfire' after a U.S. convoy rams a traffic jam, and lawyers in London estimate that more than 60 Guantanamo detainees were children when they were seized.
The Telegraph reports that Prime Minister Blair made "significant changes" on climate change and Iran in a speech to accommodate the White House, while President Bush is said to be 'changing spin not policy in Iraq,' in what one observer terms 'A sociopathic sort of contrition.'
Bush's attempt to revive the Cold War analogy to terrorism in a commencement address at West Point is seen as a "hint that the United States will be waging war in the Middle East for years and years to come."
Sen. Chuck Hagel makes the case that "things are worse off in the Middle East today than they were three years ago," Danny Schechter identifies "political amnesia" as the real enemy, and Memorial Day prompts a remembrance of some Americans who "ducked."
The New York Times reports on a trial that opens a window on domestic surveillance, Democrats are seen to 'endorse NSA spying two-to-one,' Left I on the News flags some phrases that should be handled carefully on Memorial Day, and two ads try to trip up President Bush on his own words.
As the words of Jeffrey Skilling inspire Paul Loeb to review 'Enron's good fight,' Jason Leopold recalls that "the Bush administration wasted no time in covering up its close ties to the energy company," and it's observed that "Lay and Skilling may go to jail, but Enron conservatives still rule in Washington." Plus: 'Are Enrons bustin' out all over?'
Searching for management failings at the CIA, Ken Silverstein argues that earlier media reports followed the wrong trail of 'Gosslings,' Newsweek profiles "Co-conspirator No. 1" in the Randy Cunningham case, and the San Diego Union Tribune looks at how favor was curried at D.C. poker parties.
The excuse by President Bush's new domestic policy advisor for doctoring his own quotes is found wanting, and former Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith, who's getting a chilly reception from academia, goes with what he knows.
As Media Matters fact checks an attempt by Slate's "Mr. Science" to identify moral flaws in "An Inconvenient Truth," it's suggested that he is sitting in the wrong chair and questions are raised about Slate's editing and professed lack of fact checking.
Paul Krugman reviews the 'Swift boating' of a climate scientist and concludes that industry funded climate skeptics ought to be called by their true names, as it's noted that an article locating "the realm of the skeptics," fails to challenge a misleading theme which is framing the debate.
Frank Rich argues that, successful or not, a Gore candidacy might "force the party powers that be to start facing some inconvenient but necessary truths," while Greg Sargent finds Gore managing to 'tell the truth about the press' to an interviewer intent on reviving "an old Gore chestnut."
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
"Witnesses said American soldiers fired on Afghans" during a "full-blown anti-American riot" in Kabul, where protestors shouting "Death to Dog Washers!" were said to express "how ... many Afghans feel" about "Americans ... in a hurry."
As members of Congress brace for fallout, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, says that "We do not know yet why we did not know" what happened in Haditha, where "either the soldiers were following orders or it never happened."
As the U.S. deploys its "main reserve fighting force" to Anbar province, site of 'The Most Dangerous Place,' Dahr Jamail reports that there have been 'Countless My Lai Massacres in Iraq,' despite "Haditha's elevation as Iraq's official, bad apple atrocity."
A new video game, linked to a dominionist mega-church pastor, is said to allow teens to "be the Christians blowing away the infidels, and if that doesn't hit your hot button, you can be the Antichrist blowing away all the Christians." Earlier: 'The Battle Cry of G.I. Jesus.'
Robert Jensen describes "the United States as a society in the grip of four fundamentalisms," and proposes an antidote, as AlterNet's Michelle Goldberg analyzes "the largest and most powerful mass movement in the nation."
A GOP operative is said to blame "the stink of Cunningham, and the Bush problem" for a "possible loss" that "could signal ... loss of control of the House." Earlier: 'Altering the reality of failure.'
Although "Democrats have been criticized as being only against Mr. Bush and not standing for any ideals or agenda of their own," a GOP strategist tells the New York Times that "some Democrats ... make really good bad guys."
Al Gore told a UK audience that during the 2000 campaign global warming was "seen as an 'arcane' issue with more than half the U.S. media denying there was any problem and his opponent 'pledged to regulate CO2 -- a pledge not broken until after the inauguration.'" Plus: Treasury Secretary nominee endorses Kyoto.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
President Bush's nomination of 'A Secretary For Troubling Times' is hailed as a "master stroke," but also described as an effort "to tap into Wall Street's legendary ability to put lipstick on a financial pig" -- and the man "knows a snake pit when he sees one."
Bush reportedly settled on his new Treasury Secretary, one with previous government experience, several days before telling reporters that the outgoing Secretary, after one of the "longest death-watches ever," "has not talked to me about resignation." Helen Thomas says, "Bring him on."
After 54 die in Iraq's 'bloodiest day in weeks,' Slate's Fred Kaplan implores Sen. John McCain -- and Secretary of State Rice -- to follow his own advice, and Joshua Frank finds unlikely bedfellows for a 'renegade rightwing extremist' among 'Leftists for Occupation.'
With 'Hopes for Iraq Pullback Fading,' it's reported that "nearly 80 Iraqis were killed or wounded every day from mid-February through mid-May," as 'Multiple-Fatality Bombings Reach Highest Level Since Invasion.'
"An American soldier was killed in the blast that killed the CBS cameraman and soundman and injured Ms. Dozier," write Maureen Dowd. "But more than a day after we knew everything about the CBS victims, no information had been released about him."
As neocons are said to have written "what amounted to an obituary of the Bush freedom doctrine," an article in American Conservative calculates the "steep costs and uncertain victory" of 'Gulf War III' -- but is the U.S. 'ready to talk' to Iran?
Presidential daughter Barbara Bush is named as a "senior advisor" on the delegate list to a UN Special Session on HIV/AIDS, where "the ideological heavy-lifting ... will be executed by stalwart Christian conservatives."
States are reportedly taking a "save-yourselves approach" to hurricane season, as Gov. Jeb Bush rails against people who "line up in their Lexuses or Mercedeses to get ice and water."
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